Monday, August 31, 2015

Movie Music and More #25 : "The Lone Ranger" (2013)

I, Hamlette, love this soundtrack.  And this movie.  I bought the soundtrack shortly after I saw The Lone Ranger in the theater for the second time, more than two years ago, and I still haven't put the CD on my shelves -- it lives in the kitchen, next to the little CD player I use while I'm cooking.  I listen to it at least once a week still, usually on those hard-to-get-moving mornings when I need a blend of oomph and comfort to set me on my feet.  Composed and produced by Hans Zimmer, it shot quickly to the top tier of my list of favorite soundtracks, and I doubt it will ever drop out of the top ten.

By now, this music courses through my veins.  It's become an integral part of my consciousness.  So right now, you're going to hear the music that flows through my brain at some point just about every single day.  This is what it sounds like to be inside my head, some of the time anyway.  

I'll start you off with "Silver," a gentle, haunting song.  It begins wistfully, then builds to a theme of yearning and desire.

"Ride" starts off sounding like something from one of Ennio Morricone's spaghetti western soundtracks.  That first 45 seconds of it makes me want to jump on a horse and, well, ride.  Ride toward something important, some necessary action.  Then it twists, becoming quieter, more thoughtful.  Later, it opens up into a sweeping theme that makes me think of wide-open spaces, with no boundaries or limitations. 

And as for the "Finale," well, this is my musical happy place.  I can't hear it and not smile, not get cheered up, not start to bounce.  You know the familiar "William Tell" theme by Rossini, which the old TV show and radio show used for their theme song -- "Finale" takes that theme and runs wild with it.  My absolute favorite part kicks in at 7 minutes when the theme returns off-cadence and minor, and then 30 seconds later these trumpets come in with what I think of as a love song to the Old West. That part makes me ache with joy.

Happy trails!

(Yes, my sign-off image is from this movie.)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Captain America: Civil War - Teams Revealed in Concept Art!

New concept art for Captain America: Civil War reveals Cap and Iron Man's new teams! And several of the choices are surprising. Captain America's team features Hawkeye, Falcon, Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, and Sharon Carter, aka Agent 13. On the other side, Iron Man's team includes War Machine, Vision, Black Panther, and Black Widow.

At first glance, Iron Man's team definitely has the strength advantage. Aside from Cap and the Winter Soldier, his team is entirely normal humans with tech. Vision is nearly Thor or Hulk level strength, so Cap is clearly the underdog, which should make for some interesting set pieces. Of course, characters like Spider-Man and Scarlet Witch are not present in these concept art pieces and being concept art, not everything is finalized, but it is certainly interesting. Please comment below with your thoughts! And check back later this week for my extremely late review of Ant-Man, which I will hopefully see soon.

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Assassin's Creed 2016 First Look at Michael Fassbender

Assassin's Creed 2016 starring Michael Fassbender finally releases a First Look at Fassbender in the costume. Fassbender will be playing Callum Lynch, an original character never before featured in the AC video games. My first impression of this picture is that it looks fine, but it looks almost too much like a video game and Fassbender is too hard to see behind the hood. The film will be following a new story and characters unrelated to the games' main story, or at least that is what is revealed thus far. While seeing a few of the franchise's great characters would have been fun, the series' structure allows for stories branch off of the main narrative, and if executed correctly, this film could be great. However, just like any adaptation, it could be complete garbage, but let's hope that is not the case. What do you think of this first promotional image? Please comment below and let me know!

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Friday, August 28, 2015

The Castle of Cagliostro Review

To kickoff the Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki Retrospective, let’s take a look at Miyazaki’s feature film directorial debut, Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro, or simply, The Castle of Cagliostro.
Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
Genre: Action Adventure, Heist, Anime, Animation,
Release Date: December 15, 1979
Running Time: 100 minutes
MMPA rating: PG (maybe PG-13)

The Good: Fun action and adventure throughout, Likable characters, Perfect pacing, Effective introduction to the franchise, 

The Bad: Tonally inconsistent,

Plot: 8.1/10- The film’s plot is simple yet effective. While the movie uses the "save the princess in the castle" cliché, it never hinders the film nor feels clichéd. One of the film's strong aspects is the pacing. Never is there a dull or boring moment throughout the film as it goes about its classic thief caper story. 
My main issue problem with the entire movie is the tonal inconsistency. During multiple points, the tone goes from semi-serious action adventure to a kid's movie. The more serious parts are more effective, but the more lighthearted moments still have their place. With that said, the English dub does lean towards the more family friendly vibe than the Japanese. 

Characterization: 8.0/10- Despite being my first experience with the cast of characters, after the brief ten minute introductions, the viewer knows everything that they need to know about the characters and their dynamics. Each one is distinct and memorable, even if the screen time for Jigen and Goemon was limited. Being the star, Lupin III is obviously the most entertaining and most well realized of the character, although he is portrayed as a more heroic character than other adaptations. Lady Clarisse falls into the "damsel in distress" trope, but she is still likable and served as an important plot point well.

Direction: 8.8/10- Even as one of Miyazaki’s earliest works, The Castle of Cagliostro contains his trademarked high flying adventure. It lends being overly cartoony at times, but overall, the action set pieces are a blast to watch.

Acting: 8.0/10- Regardless of whether you watch the film in the original Japanese or in the 2000 Manga Entertainment English dub, the film holds up well. However, as previously stated, the English dub creates a more lighthearted tone than the Japanese dub since the villain sounds more threatening and less like a cartoon character in Japanese. With that said, David Hayter, of Metal Gear Solid fame, does a great job as Lupin. Currently, the dubbed version is available to watch for free on Hulu.

Art Style: 7.9/10- For late 70s animation, TMS Entertainment’s animation holds up well under Miyazaki’s direction with it featuring elements of his now iconic art style, particularly the female character designs. Otherwise, the fluidity and background art is top notch for the era.

Soundtrack: 7.8/10- Yuji Ohno’s score is upbeat and fitting of the old school caper tone.

Humor: 8.2/10- While some humor falls flat, for the most part, the action comedy elements of the film work rather well.

Overall: 8.1/10- With its mix of adventure, comedy, and good old fashioned fun, Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro combines old school thief capers with the spectacle that animation affords, and the results are a blast! For a debut film, Hayao Miyazaki could not have been much better!

Recommended for: Action Adventure fans, Animation fans, Anime fans, Miyazaki fans, Studio Ghibli fans,

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki Retrospective

Studio Ghibli is one of the only foreign animation studios to reach relative mainstream success in North America and Europe. Chances are you might have already seen one of Studio Ghibli's films or have at least heard of them, even if you did not realize it, thanks to Disney's brilliant marketing. A few of the studio's most recognizable works include Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Howl's Moving Castle, although their work spans more than 20 feature films.

Pixar producer and director, John Lasseter, often cites Studio Ghibli founder, Hayao Miyazaki, as an inspiration for his work, and he has worked personally with Miyazaki as the director of Disney's English dubs of Ghibli films. There is even a Totoro plushie in Toy Story 3.

In short, regardless of your opinion of Japanese animation, if you consider yourself a film fan, especially of animation, you need to at least watch the studio's most critically acclaimed works. Fans of Pixar, Disney, or family films should also check out the studio's work.

My inspiration for this Studio Ghibli retrospective comes a request from reader, Matthew Birkhofer, who requested "You should make a list of the best Pixar & Studio Ghibli movies, in one list to see where movies add up!" during the "Ask Me Anything" post, which I will answer soon. Since ranking Studio Ghibli and Pixar would result in the bottom half being mostly Pixar and the top half mostly Ghibli, it felt redundant. So, instead, I plan to review every single Studio Ghibli film over the course of this year, including the early work of Hayao Miyazaki before he started Studio Ghibli. The retrospective begins tomorrow with a review of Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro. Please give me some feedback on your opinion this idea in the comment, and whether or not you are interesting.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Top 25 Sci-Fi Movies: Part 6

The Top 25 Sci-Fi Movies list now comes to an end! These are the 5 Sci-Fi films that rise up all others. These are the best of the best! Now, let's get started!

5: Aliens
James Cameron’s Aliens is one of the most thrilling and pulse-pounding film experiences ever made. While the first Alien film created the Xenomorph creature and established the concept, Cameron's Aliens exceeded the original film by combining the thrills of the original with incredible special effects and edge-of-your-seat action sequences. Aliens also established Ellen Ripley as one of film's greatest female protagonists of all-time. How could Aliens not be among the best sci-fi films of all-time!?
Aliens (1986) Review.

4: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Before Titanic and Avatar, James Cameron actually made a few freaking awesome sci-fi films and there are none better T2. Deciding between Aliens and T2 for my favorite Cameron flick was not easy, but after some deliberation, T2 came out on top, partially due to the fact that it has been one of my favorite movies ever since I was a kid. Despite T2 being known for its revolutionary CGI, it is the heavy use of practical effects during the action sequences that make it hold up so well today. Few action films today can match the level of action direction of T2, and yet it never forgets the characters by including a healthy dosage of heart.

3: The Matrix
The Matrix blew my mind with its combination of sci-fi philosophy and sequences that remain unmatched in western films. Despite being more than 15 years old, everything holds up in the Matrix today as well it did years ago, and many of themes are all the more relevant to today's increasingly technological society. Unfortunately, the Wachowskis were never able to recapture the Matrix's greatest in the sequels or any other film.

2: Inception
Yet another mind-blowing and mind-bending experience on my list, Inception is the film that literally launched my film critiquing hobby. Christopher Nolan is at his unquestionable best with Inception in all aspects. For the first time in his films, he manages to craft characters that you genuinely care that get caught up in a plot with more twists and turns than one can count. While not everything about the concept and plot is the most original, the way Nolan used the concept of dreams to move the plot forward is unique and inventive. Will Nolan ever be able to top his masterpiece? That remains to be seen.
Inception Review.

1: Star Wars Saga
How could there be any other? Without Star Wars, half of the films on this list would have never been possible for technological, inspirational, and financial reasons. Star Wars showed Hollywood that science fiction is a viable genre. It elevated the Science Fiction genre to new heights never seen before! Not since the early days of film has a movie or franchise made such an impact on the culture of the world than Star Wars.

Since the Original Trilogy would have taken up the Top 3 spots on the list, I opted to include the franchise as a whole so that more sci-fi films could make the list. Of course, The Empires Strikes Back would top the list with the original Star Wars not far behind. With the new Star Wars films on the horizon, let us all hope that Star Wars will rise yet again to its former glory!

Well, that concludes my list of the Top 25 Sci-Fi films of all-time! At a later date, I will write up something about the 25+ Honorable Mentions that almost made the list. So, what do you think of my list? Please comment below and let me know! Thanks for reading everyone and if you missed one of the previous parts, click on the links below.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Movie Music and More 24# : "Evita" (1996)

(I promise not to talk about only Antonio Banderas. --Hamlette)

Although The Phantom of the Opera is the first Andrew Lloyd Webber musical I heard, Evita is the first I saw because it was made into a movie starring Antonio Banderas and Madonna, which I rented with a college friend.  I promptly fell madly in love with it (the movie, not the friend) and went right out and bought the soundtrack.  The movie is rich, nuanced, probably historically inaccurate, and wonderful.

Everyone knows "Don't Cry for Me Argentina," so I won't say much about it here.  There's a reason it's famous, though -- it's quite stirring.  I'm always disappointed it's not actually about a guy named Argentina, though.  I heard a bunch of the music before I saw the movie, but I didn't know the story line at all, so I made up what I thought all the songs were about, and on some of them I was fairly close (hard not to figure out "Another Suitcase, Another Hall"), but on others, I was very off.

Speaking of "Another Suitcase, Another Hall," here it is.  I like how subdued and heart-achy it is.  Much of Evita is militant and brash, but this is very emotional.  It's about how young Eva has to turn to being a "kept woman" to support herself, but she never stays with a man long, so she always ends up holding her suitcase, standing in a hall outside a place she's leaving.

Here's a much more fun song, "And the Money Kept Rolling In (And Out)."  This one has such a great energy, and of course, lots of Antonio Banderas singing.  In the musical, his character Che is the narrator, but he also interacts with other characters, he doesn't just stand on the sidelines and watch, though sometimes he does that too.  It's a really nifty device, and one of my favorite things about Evita.  In this song, Che is explaining how, once she's the first lady of Argentina, Eva starts this fund to help the poor, but everyone's so busy collecting and distributing the money, no one's keeping books, so there might be some corruption going on, but who cares as long as the money keeps pouring out, right?

"High Flying, Adored" is my most favoritest song on the whole soundtrack.  Che singing about how Eva has become super famous, but so easily and so young that she's in danger of becoming bored with everything.  It is elegant and soaring and delicious.  Eva insists it won't be a problem, she's not that special.

Even if you don't like musicals (and that's not a sin), if you're interested in politics, corruption, or the history of South America (though I've heard this is not entirely accurate), you might enjoy it.  It's rated PG, but there is a lot of innuendo, the Argentinian version of the middle finger, some rough language, and violence.  You can read's Parent's Guide for it here if you want to know more.  Also, it's a light opera more than just a musical -- nearly every line is song, as is typical for Andrew Lloyd' Webber's shows.  People don't periodically dance about and burst into song, they do that for the whole movie.

You knew I was gonna add one more picture of Antonio Banderas, didn't you?  I can't help it -- he's perfect in this.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Night of the Living Dead Review

Night of the Living Dead, George A. Romero's original zombie film that created the mold that almost every subsequent zombie story would follow for years to come. 
Before Night of the Living Dead, the zombie genre usually referred to mindless slaves under a spell of some kind (usually Voodoo), yet it is George A. Romero's classic suspense horror film that created the foundation on which the modern zombie genre is based on. As a fan of the Walking Dead and a few other zombie franchises, I wanted to see where the craze started, but does it live up to its undead legacy?

Directed by: George A. Romero
Genre: Zombie, Horror, Suspense,
Release Date: October 1, 1968
Running Time: 95 minutes
MMPA rating: N/A (PG-13)

The Good: Revolutionary concept, Duane Jones as Ben is excellent, Shockingly dark for the era,

The Bad: Atrocious acting, Lacks suspense, Weak characters (outside of Ben),

Plot: 7.2/10- Conceptually Night of the Living Dead is groundbreaking and revolutionary in almost every way. In execution however, the film suffers from its extremely low budget and B-movie aspects. On the positives, the way zombies in the film are portrayed (although the movie never refers to them as "zombies,” but rather ghouls) is almost exactly how they are today. Once you die, you come back within a few minutes to feast upon the flesh of the living, unless the brain is destroyed. Unfortunately, the thrills do not hold up today at all. While other classic horrors films such as Psycho and Alien are just as thrilling today as they were years ago, Night of the Living Dead rarely borders on suspenseful.

Characterization: 3.5/10- The main character, Ben, is notable for being one of the first black main characters in a major motion picture, and he is easily the best aspect of the film. He is smart, calm, and has common sense in terms of dealing with the "ghouls," whereas the other characters are often dumb and selfish. The female lead, Barbra, is completely helpless, catatonic, and incredibly annoying. Sure, she does have a reason for freaking out, but does she have to be so annoying? The other characters are thinly defined and dumb for the majority of the film.

Direction: 6.5/10- For the time, the zombie killing action was new, so I will give it a few points for that.

Acting: 2.1/10- Outside of Duane Jones' performance as Ben, which is rather good, the rest of the cast is horrid! Granted, this is a B-movie, but does the acting have to be this unbearable!? Almost every single actor's delivery is either over-the-top or monotone and dull.

Special effects: 7.8/10- For such a low budget, the zombie makeup and fleshing eating gore still holds fairly well today. It is certainly dated, but in the black and white, it looks alright.

Soundtrack: 2.3/10- Literally taken from another B-movie, The Hideous Sun Demon, the score is about as generic and typical of the B-movie horror genre as it gets.

Humor: N/A- Despite some acting that is so bad it makes you laugh, there is not any humor.

Entertainment Value: 6.2/10- In spite the horrible acting, seeing where the zombie genre and its tropes began kept me intrigued for the majority of the film.

Overall: 6.1/10- Despite virtually inventing a genre, George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead is not a classic that stands the test of time, unless of course, you love corny B-movies. With that said, Night of the Living Dead does feature several strong elements amidst a bevy of horrible acting and cheesy dialogue.

Closing comments: Fans of the zombie genre should watch Night of the Living Dead solely for the sake of viewing the original film that started it all. Others however, you should probably give this a pass in favor of superior zombie media like The Walking Dead or Romero's sequels.

Recommended for: Zombie fans, Classic movie fans, B-movie fans,

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fear the Walking Dead Premieres Tonight

Fear the Walking Dead premieres tonight! Fear the Walking Dead is a spinoff of the popular Walking Dead TV series Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, and Frank Dillane set in Los Angeles. The author of the comic, Robert Kirkman, is also one of the writers for the new series. With the new zombie series airing, tomorrow I will be reviewing the original zombie movie that started it all, Night of the Living Dead!

I am extremely skeptical about whether or not Fear the Walking Dead will be able to capture what made the original great, at least during those few really good seasons. Of course, whether it is awful or not, I will watch it since I am a fan. With that said, the original Walking Dead has been very inconsistent since Season 3, and it makes me wonder if Fear will be more like the first season, which was great, or like the current series, which, while very good, can lose focus on its main goal at times.If there is enough interest, I might review the first episode. Are you going to watch the series? What do you expect from it? Please comment below, and check tomorrow for my review of Night of the Living Dead.

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Marvel’s Most Wanted - New TV Series in the Works

ABC is planning a pilot for Marvel’s Most Wanted, a new series starring Adrianne Palicki as Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird. Assumedly, Lance Hunter, played by Nick Blood, will also play a part in the series. If you remember, back in April, the series was rumored to be in production but was stopped in favor of Agent Carter’s second season. However, it seems that this new series will be green lit as well.

To me, Palicki and Blood are excellent additions to the Agents of SHIELD cast, and while the character might be good enough to carry their own shows, I do not see a reason for an entire series following these characters. With that said, it is likely to be another top notch series from Marvel if ABC picks up the pilot. Currently, this is all we know of the project. Please comment below and let me know what you think. And are you interested in this new series?


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Friday, August 21, 2015

Movie Music and More #23 : "Firefly" (2002-2003)

The soundtrack for Joss Whedon's tragically short-lived TV show Firefly is a lot of fun.  Composed mainly by Greg Edmonson, the music is a fascinating blend of east-and-west, like the show's culture.  You've got twangy banjos and ethereal flutes, pounding rhythm and delicate melodies.  It's got such a unique flavor, just like the rest of the show.

"Inside the Tam House" offers a good example of the more eastern music, with lyrical melodies from strings and a flute laid over a trickling piano.

"Mal Fights Niska/Back Home" represents what I think of as the classic Firefly sound -- lots of strings and wind instruments and percussion.  I like how this one starts a little slow, then switches to a more actiony vibe, because it definitely gives you the feeling of people facing each other, then starting to fight.  Around 1:22, it then flips to the more peaceful and gentle "home" theme that makes me feel cozy and happy.

Hands-down, my favorite track on the whole album is "River's Dance."  It's joyful and carefree, which the rest of the album isn't, for the most part.  Definitely makes me feel like dancing!

I'm so glad that, although Firefly was short-lived, the powers that be saw fit to release a soundtrack to CD, because I have had many hours of enjoyment from listening to this.  

If you've never heard this before, what did you think of it?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Top 25 Sci-Fi Movies: Part 5

Finally, we have reached the Top 10; the best of the best. These are the films that go down in history as the pinnacle of the science fiction genre. At this point, everyone should have seen these films, and if you have not, you probably should go watch them.

10: The Terminator
James Cameron's breakout film as a director, The Terminator is responsible for both Cameron's later success as well as the "Governator," aka Arnold Schwarzenegger, becoming a household name. As for the film itself, The Terminator set the standard for the killer robot movie. Despite being more than three decades old, the film is every bit as hard hitting and thrilling as it was all those years ago. Just be sure not to think about the time-travel aspect too long; your brain will start to hurt. On a personal note, along with Star Wars and a few other sci-fi films, The Terminator is one of the films that inspired my interest in computers as a kid, which led to my current career path in IT.

9: Serenity
A sequel film to Joss Whedon's unjustly cancelled cult-classic Firefly, Serenity might not have been the second season that we all wanted, but Whedon gave us just enough conclusion to satisfy the fans. While Serenity can be enjoyed as a standalone film, without watching the series much of the emotional impact and callbacks are missed, so be sure to watch the series first. To quote the opening song, “You can burn the land and boil the sea, but there's no place I can’t be since I've found Serenity.”

8: Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park changed filmmaking forever with its revolutionary CGI effects, and yet, thanks to Spielberg's superb direction, the effects never overshadow the rest of the movie. In addition to the CGI, Jurassic Park used many brilliant practical effects, all of which hold up better than almost anything today. Special Effects aside, Jurassic Park is a fun film full of thrills, excitement, and breathtaking sequences that are as awe-inspiring today as they were 20 years ago. The film is the near perfection of the Summer Blockbuster!

7: Blade Runner
Ever since watching Blade Runner three years ago, the film continues to climb my favorites list for one simple reason: I am still thinking about the film. Every so often, I find myself considering the mysteries of the film and its depiction of Artificial Intelligence. Sure, at first, the movie might have seemed slow, but after watching the original cut and the Final Cut, it is a film that is the definition of "Staying Power." Anytime that I reference "Staying Power" in my reviews, Blade Runner is the one that sets the bar, because no other film has been able to change my opinion without a second viewing than Blade Runner. Often times, when you think about a film in-depth, it starts to fall apart, unless it is a truly great film, and thus Blade Runner is truly among the greats.

6: Back to the Future
From the clever script to the witty dialogue to the quirky sense of humor, Back to the Future is the definition of a classic. Few films pack so much pure entertainment into 116 minutes than Back to the Future! Even though its time-travel logic is a little contradicting at times, where else can you find a film that is just so much fun to watch!

What do you think of this part of the list? Please comment below and check out the previous parts in the links below.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What are Your Favorite TV Comedies?

What are Your Favorite TV Comedies? Please vote in the comments with your favorite TV comedies on are of all-time. Vote for about 5 TV series, but you can vote for a few more or less than 5. To qualify as a comedy, the series must be scripted and not a late night skit series. Examples of comedies include, Seinfeld, Parks and Recreation, MASH, I Love Lucy, ect. 

After the results of the poll, my next list of the Top 10 TV Comedies will begin! Thanks to Matthew Birkhofer for requesting more reader polls, please vote in the comments, and check back soon for the conclusion of the Top 25 Sci-Fi films.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Metropolis (1927) Review

Metropolis, the first feature length science fiction ever made, and it influences can still be seen today other sci-fi films such as Blade Runner, Terminator, and even The Hunger Games.

Metropolis takes place in the future in an urban dystopia where the rich live in the prosperous city of Metropolis, whereas the poor slave away in their underground city to provide power for Metropolis. The story revolves around Freder, son of the wealthy ruler of Metropolis, after he meets Maria, an almost saint to the lower class. Freder tries to act as a mediator between the upper and lower classes to prevent an unnecessary uprising, in a story that features robots and political corruption.
Does this plot summary sound strangely familiar? Almost a hundred years ago in 1927, nothing like it had ever been put to film, until Fritz Lang decided to bring his story to life in his film, Metropolis. Being that the film is nearly a century old; parts of the original film have unfortunately been lost and degraded over time. The most recent 2010 restoration, which is the version that I watched, is the closest to the original of the version currently available. Some scenes are vividly restored to high definition quality, while others literally have hard lines through the film. For the most part however, the visual restoration holds up well. Even though the missing parts of the film can make following the plot a little more difficult than necessary, the added text cards explains what happens during those scene.

Directed by: Fritz Lang
Genre: Sci-Fi, Silent, Drama,
Release Date: 10 January 1927
Running Time: 153 minutes (1927 premiere, lost), 148 minutes (2010 restoration), 118 minutes (2002 restoration)
MMPA rating: PG-13

The Good: Excellent set design, Impressive scale, Great soundtrack, Brigitte Helm's strong performance, Intriguing concepts and themes, Unique camera work and editing, Interesting use of metaphors and symbolism,

The Bad: Unnaturally quick character change, Unexplained character motivations,
Plot: 8.4/10- Metropolis' plot is full of metaphors and commentary, which many modern day films continue to convey. Sure, more recent films have executed the same idea more effectively, but for the first sci-fi film, this is quite an achievement. The plot itself is rather straightforward with a few twists and turns along the way. There are allusions to Biblical elements, although the use of said elements is somewhat odd at times. On the negative side, the story can be a tad confusing since not enough text of what the characters are saying is displayed. Also, the translation from German to English on the text cards is awkward at points.

Characterization: 6.0/10- Freder, the main protagonist, is not clearly defined in the film. Within the first 15 minutes, he changes from the rich son living the highlife to a lovestruck sympathizer of the poor. 
Granted, Metropolis is an old silent, so I can cut it some slack. Maria and her robot double are the most interesting aspects of the film. Robots in general were a somewhat new concept at the time, and Metropolis is one of the films that popularized the concept, so Maria, to my knowledge, is the first true humanoid robot put to film. Rotwang, the inventor of the robot, does not have clearly defined motivations for the majority of the film, or I missed something. Towards the later part of the movie, I began to understand, but his relationship to Freder's dead mother, Hel, was not defined.

Acting: 7.0/10- Metropolis' acting is very much a product of the silent era. 
Without the use of sound, all of the acting is extremely over exaggerated, over-the-top, and over dramatic to a laughable degree, particularly the extras. Brigitte Helm is easily the best actress of the film, playing both Maria and her evil robot double. As Maria, she gives off an effective saintly and kind aura in her movements and expressions, whereas the robot double is very suggestive and seductive in her expressions and movements, making both performances by Helm one of the strongest aspects of the film.

Special effects: 10/10- Wow! Just wow! For the era, the special effects, set design, scale, and editing are impressive. 
Without the use of CGI or even old green screen, director, Fritz Lang, crafts giant sets and mini models to bring the city of Metropolis to life. At times, there are hundreds of extras in wide long shots running through the massive sets with various moving machinery and other effects. In a way, Fritz Lang created one of the first steampunk aesthetic with Metropolis. Lang's camera work and layered editing of clips on other clips is not something that I have seen in films from around the era.

Soundtrack: 8.6/10- With a film where the only sound the audience hears is the music, the score better be good, and Gottfried Huppertz's original score, performed by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra in the 2010 restoration, is certainly excellent. While many older scores sound the same and overly dramatic, Huppertz's music fits the film excellently.

Humor: N/A-

Entertainment Value: 7.3/10- Despite dragging in a few places, Metropolis' story and visuals was able to hold my attention for the majority of the film.

Overall: 8.1/10- Despite its age, Metropolis holds up so surprisingly well today. Sure, other films later might have executed the concepts and ideas better, yet the first car ever built is not the best one and the original should always be appreciated. 

Closing comments: If you watch only one silent film, Metropolis is probably your best bet, and if you are a cinema fan or a fan of classic sci-fi, this is a definite must watch for its legacy alone.

Recommended for: Sci-Fi fans, Silent film fans, Classic film fans,

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